Startups

This App Saves Lives is launching an equity crowdfunding campaign

The startup, which makes an app to incentivize safe driving, is raising a $1.5 million seed round and designating a third of it to be raised on SeedInvest.

This App Saves Lives. (Courtesy photo)
A tech startup that’s readying to raise a seed round of funding has several options to get that capital. A 2020 policy change has had more founders consider crowdfunding.

Philly startup This App Saves Lives, which makes a platform to reward people for practicing good driving habits, just launched its own equity crowdfunding campaign today. Founder Ryan Frankel told Technical.ly the company is raising a $1.5 million seed round, and is aiming to raise a third of it on SeedInvest, a platform founded by Wharton School classmates Ryan Feit and James Han.

The idea to raise capital online from investors isn’t brand new, but a 2020 rule change from the SEC raised the limit from $1 million to $5 million. Crowdfunding allows a company to receive cash investments quickly while also allowing everyday people to participate in the investment process, with a $1,000 minimum investment, rather than just accredited investors (those making at least $200,000 per year) or venture capital firms. Other Philly founders have said it makes them feel more in control in the fundraising process, and “give less” of the company away.

The three-year-old company — a 2020 RealLIST Startups runner-up — makes a distracted driving platform that tracks when a driver is using their phone in a safe way, like hands-free phone calls, directions or listening to music. It rewards drivers for these good behaviors with points to more than 100 participating reward partner brands, including Insomnia Cookies or TaskRabbit. But the app also monitors for bad behavior like texting or emailing while driving, and will detract points.

This App Saves Lives. (Courtesy image)

Frankel said he sees a lot of benefits in crowdfunding. Both the companies raising money on the platform and those looking to invest are put through a strict due diligence process, he said, so they feel confident in the validity and quality of the investors. It’s clear that the campaign is a straightforward way to access capital, but he’s also hopeful that other companies on the platform will see the business model and want to participate as rewards partners.

“It’s providing access to high-growth startups to mom-and-pop retail investors,” Frankel said. “It gives investors, as long as they have ability to write a $1,000 check, the opportunity to invest.”

Because This App Saves Lives is free to use, it’s traditionally made money on the reward partnerships. But the founder also sees the potential to incorporate the app as an employee benefit for companies looking to give their workers rewards. Partnerships with auto insurance companies could bring potential revenue, too.

Since its initial launch, This App Saves Lives has added more partner brands, and this June launched a paid platform for parents to be able to monitor their children via a dashboard and create their own incentive rewards.

“Looking at the data of adults — we’re not all fantastic, [non-]distracted drivers,” Frankel said. “But younger drivers represent a disproportionate amount of fatalities.”

Frankel said that as the platform has grown recently, the seed funding will go toward expanding the team of two full-timers and a handful of part-time workers, plus a dev team. The company is looking to expand its product side, too.

This App Saves Lives’ SeedInvest campaign will run through Nov. 18.

Companies: This App Saves Lives
People: This App Saves Lives / Ryan Frankel
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